Composer Rob Kyr invokes ‘The Healing Power of New Music’

At our November 14, 2023 class meetup, we were delighted to welcome as guest speaker Dr. Robert Kyr (’74 JE), a prolific and celebrated composer of music, as well as a writer, photographer, videographer, filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist.

Joining us via Zoom from the University of Oregon, Dr. Kyr (“Rob”) described how he evolved from a Yale Symphony bass player into a composer on a mission to foster peace and environmental stewardship through music.

Watch the video replay of his talk here (coming soon).

“My hope is that the new music of our time will inspire and motivate people to take meaningful action in their own way, wherever they are,” he said. “For their family, their neighborhood, their city, their region, and for the planet.”

Rob’s musical output is staggering: He has composed twelve symphonies, three chamber symphonies, three violin concerti, a piano concerto, numerous works of chamber music and more than 120 works for vocal ensembles.

His 47-minute cantata, Songs of the Soul, which was released on CD in 2014, was inspired by his visits to a monastery in the high desert of northwest New Mexico. The Wall Street Journal hailed it as “a powerful new achievement in American music” and NPR named it in the “best of the year” new music list, following a series of stories about his work on NPR Classical. In 2016, Rob’s music was recognized with an Arts and Letters award for distinguished artistic achievement from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Discography:

  • Songs of the Soul (Conspirare Company of Voices), Harmonia Mundi,
  • All-Night Vigil (Cappella Romana), Cappella Records,
  • In Praise of Music (ten choral works), Bridge Records,
  • The Cloud of Unknowing (Conspirare Company of Voices), Harmonia Mundi,
  • Violin Concerto Trilogy (Third Angle New Music Ensemble), New Albion,
  • A Time for Life (Cappella Romana), Cappella Records,
  • Paradiso: Transformation and Transfiguration (Notre Dame Vocale), Albany Records,
  • The Passion according to Four Evangelists (Back Bay Chorale), New Albion,
  • Arrangment of Samuel Barber’s oratorio The Lovers, Harmonia Mundi.

Read more about Rob’s education, teaching and professional activities here.